#04 How We Transformed A Successful Blog Post Into $2,500/Month Passive Income

58 min read
Podcast by

What You Will Learn

  • How we slowly took a single piece of content and improved it over time.
  • How we grew content around that central piece
  • How we started collecting hundreds of leads from a single page
  • How we built a product from scratch to serve that audience
  • How we optimised the process over time

In most of the emails I receive, when people talk about monetisation, they usually talk to me about adsense and amazon. While these are great to get started because you can just slap them on the site and not think too much about it, they’re clearly sub optimal.

In fact, I’m sure you could 10x your revenue if you replaced them with a smarter form of monetisation. I’m talking a form of monetisation where you sell something. Because that’s where the money is, in the sales.

Health Ambition gets 350,000 visits/month and runs adsense on a lot of its pages and still makes just around $2,000/month from it. That means that if we wanted to make $10,000/month from adsense we’d need almost 1.75 million hits/month.

Is that realistic in the short term ? Probably not.

However, if we sell a product for $20, in order to make $10,000/month, we only need to sell 500 per month. If we count a low 0.5% conversion rate, that’s “only” 100,000 visits. 17.5x less traffic than Adsense… And there are ways to get much better conversion rates.

However, the most common objections to going this route are:

  • I don’t know how to do it (then listen to this podcast)
  • What if it fails (try again or improve it)
  • I will need to create too much content (No you don’t, listen to the podcast to see how we did it)
  • My traffic isn’t converting (Download the diagram bellow for that)

While this case study will not show you how we bought our new Ferraris, it will show you how we built a passive income asset from our authority site in just a few weeks and the potential this kind of small funnel has if developed.

You Might Also Like: How To Make Money Blogging

Steps We Followed as Described in the Episode

  1. That blog post was published as part of a batch of blog post, no special attention was given to it.
  2. After 6 months, the post started getting 200-300 visits/day
  3. 3 months later, traffic completely died off until January 2014
  4. We redesigned the page using Thrive Content Builder, Created a free recipe ebook people could download in exchange for their email and created this pin that went viral on Pinterest (34029 pins to this day)
  5. Traffic went from 500/day to 2300/day at peak due to both social traffic and organic traffic growth
  6. We created 20+ more posts on the topic of juicing and offered the same free recipe book on all of them to collect more leads
  7. Started collecting 100+ emails/day from opt in pop ups and content upgrades.
  8. We created an ebook using our blog content and a little bit of exclusive new content.
  9. We created a very basic sales page in 2-3h using Thrive Landing Pages.
  10. We created a basic autoresponder with Ontraport giving more information about juicing and the ebook sending people back to theMinimal Viable Sales page
  11. After initial A/B Tests, we released a redesigned sales page and immediately saw a boost of conversion.
  12. We added a 1 click Upsale using more content from the blog put together, 30% of buyers now take the upsale, pushing the max cart value from $20 to $35.
  13. We created a $1 trial rebill where people can get the ebook for $1 today and pay the rest 1 week later.

While the numbers are not yet very impressive, we believe we can grow this process to the point where it makes over $1000/day. Here’s how we’ll get there.

The $1000+/Day Goal Can Be Achieved By:

  • Using A/B Tests to improve the conversion rate of our sales page
  • Creating more juicing content to collect more emails
  • Recruiting affiliates to sell the product for us
  • Increase the max cart value by adding more up sales and a membership site
  • Have a follow up email sequence that sells other products to the people who didn’t buy.
  • Use Pay per click to scale lead acquisition
  • Create a “light” kindle version and up sell the main ebook

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Welcome to the Authority Hacker podcast, the place to learn incredibly actionable marketing tips to dominate your niche. Now your host- Gael Breton.

Gael: Hey guys, welcome to another Authority Hacker podcast episode. First of all, I’d like to apologize for not getting back to you guys in terms of podcast for a few weeks now, but there is one thing I really want to do with Authority Hacker and it’s not wasting your time. And when we don’t have something super valuable to share with you guys I don’t want to release a podcast just because there is a weekly schedule. So I actually had some other podcast recorded, by I didn’t feel like they were good enough, and I want you guys that when you are going to be downloading our streaming and Authority Hacker podcast, I want you to feel like you are going to get value every single time. And that is one of the reasons why we didn’t release podcast for such a long time. But today, I feel I have something that is going to be very valuable to a lot of you guys. And that’s basically the story of how Mark and I were able to take a blog post on Health Ambition that was making a little bit of money, it was making between a $100 and $120 per month from AdSense and Amazon, so a little bit of money, and we were able to transform it into a stream of passive income that is around $2500 per month now and is still growing, and you’ll see, we still have a bunch of plans for that and we actually believe we can take this to something that would probably make us a $1000 a day. So, I think that is quite useful because we are going to be sharing the exact things we did, and what happened, and the ups and downs and everything. So, as the episode goes, I will let the discussion between Mark and I go, but before that I want to tell you that you can download the actual sales process and sales funnel we have been using for the tactic we discuss in this episode authorityhacker.com/product. So, you just go on this address and you will be landing on the show notes, and you will be able to download that probably in exchange for social share or something, we need to spread the love a little bit. I also talk about that I want to thank to everyone that has been dropping a five star review on iTunes, that’s super valuable and thank you guys. That’s how we get people to know about Authority Hacker and that’s how we basically justify the time that we spend sharing everything we’ve been doing with you guys. So if you appreciate the information that you find in this podcast- we’d be super grateful if you just spent 5 minutes going into your local iTunes store and dropping your honest review of what you think of this podcast. So I’ll let the interview go now and I’ll see you at the end of the episode.

Gael: Hey guys, welcome to another Authority Hacker podcast. In this podcast I’m with Mark again and we are going to tell you a little bit of a story that happened to us over the last year, year and a half, and that is basically how we transformed a blog post that was doing ok into an income stream. Right now, it’s around $2000- $2500 a month, and it’s just trickling every day and we actually have many ways to grow it. And we’ll show you how we went from one blog post that did ok- it was a little bit of luck and a little bit of promotion, and how we transformed that into a very decent income stream, a lot of people would like to make that kind of money from a website let alone a single blog post. So, I just want to- Mark, first of all thanks for joining-

Mark: Yeah, good to be here as always.

Gael: And, do you want to explain how it all started?

Mark: To be honest, it wasn’t really a planned thing, we never sat down and said, “Hey, let’s make a product about this”. It kind of happened in a little bit more of an organic way. We were basically, I use this analogy a lot, but throwing a lot of shit at the wall and seeing what stuck with our content on Health Ambition previously, and this one article started to do pretty well, and we decided to monetize it from there. Originally, it was an article like any other by thousand or so words, from one of our basic writers and that was pretty much it.

Gael: Yeah, nothing special to it, right?

Mark: Yeah, exactly. It was after about six months or so that it started to do- we put it up there, we forgot about it. We have many other articles that we are doing much better at the time.

Gael: At the time we were posting every day as well, so we had a lot of content coming up and we were just posting and going to the next thing.

Mark: Exactly. It wasn’t until few months later, actually quite a while later that we looked back and we saw it started to do quite well.

Gael: I think it’s an important point that it took six months for the article to actually get a good traffic. And good traffic- we are talking about a 100 to 300 hits a day, back then. So it’s like we are not talking about like a tidal wave of traffic, but for a site, it was pretty sizable at the time, it was one of the first articles we ever released on Health Ambition.

Mark: Yeah, exactly, and even a little bit after it started doing well, I think it went down, lost some rankings and stopped getting traffic pretty much altogether for few months at least.

Gael: Yes, and so at that time, we were making like a 100- 120 dollars per month from this article, mostly through AdSense. For us, it was a great win to be honest, it was probably some of the first dollars we ever made from the website. But it was very far from what we are making out of it today.

Mark: Sure, $3, $4 a day on AdSense might not sound much, but when you start getting those things coming in it’s quite encouraging, and actually the AdSense revenue that you are getting from specific pages can be often, not always but often an indicator of pages which have further monetization potential.

Gael: So basically, that ranked, that made like a 100 to 300 hits a day, for 5 months, and then just the rankings vanished. And it went down to like 30 or 40 hits per day and that was back in mid September 2013, and it lost also its revenue. I guess it’s because the article was not so quote unquote fresh anymore, I feel that is was bigger back then than it is right now. They’ve kind of like tuned it down a little bit, but back then you could change the dates on your blog posts and just see the ranking shoot up if you just updated the date, but we didn’t know that at the time. And so I think that it lost its freshness and stopped ranking for these keywords, and that’s basically what made it tank. And then in September 2013 it just started going back up, once again, we didn’t know exactly why but we didn’t really work on our article, it just went back up in Google and started getting about the same round of traffic, 100- 300 a day, and at that time, I was in Thailand actually, and we decided to pick that page up a little bit and I know you spent a bit of time on redoing the page and the content Mark, right?

Mark: Yeah, just to be clear, it was kind of started doing really well at the very start of this year, like 1st of January kind of time, so in the health industry, health niche, that doesn’t really tell you much because of New Year’s resolutions- everyone wants to lose weight, everyone is searching for health advise, so you know, our traffic really spikes then anyway. I think it was like a month after that before we sort of seen that this was actually continuing to do well and even improving beyond that.

Gael: And so we decided to work on that a little bit, so we did several things on the page. First of all, Thrive Content Builder just came out, and if you guys don’t know what it is it’s basically a drag and drop page buildup for WordPress, so it allowed us to make a page that looks a lot more nice etc, so it was a recipe blog post and so we were able to do things like nicely format the recipe boxes and like use more fancy images and nice step by step boxes- just basically make the page look pretty nice, so that is one of the first things we did, right?

Mark: Yeah, and honestly there was some much more basic things really basic formatting, making the article look more scannable and inviting the reader to read and a little bit some pieces that we wouldn’t necessarily spend a lot of time on before we decided that we wanted to focus on monetizing this a lot more than other articles we had. And I think it was around that time we added content upgrade as well, right?

Gael: So basically, it was a recipe blog post, and we just created a free pdf with a dozen more recipes that people can download. And so, it was just like a big button and at that time it was actually a box with like call to action etc. That said, “Hey, we have this recipe book as well, just click to download it.” And that allowed us to start collecting emails and literally we had like a generic pop up that was- no, the whole site at the time, and that’s the first time we actually started doing category segmentation for collecting emails, so rather than having a big opt in for the whole site, we had an opt in for just that one category and specifically that one blog post, and we both used pop ups that were targeted to that one blog post and content upgrades in the post, and that basically tripled our opt in rate so I think we would get maybe like 20 emails a day and that went to like 60 back then. And we actually knew what this people wanted, we knew they wanted recipes about and in that case we didn’t say it was about juicing, co we knew they care about juicing and so on, and that allowed us to know a little bit more what to tell them, and what eventually to sell them.

Mark: Yeah and just to add to that, the recipe book, I think you have 12, maybe 15 recipes, the majority of them were actually on our site already, just scattered around various other different juicing blog posts and things like that. Maybe we added an extra couple in ourselves there, but the vast majority of it was not kind of new content we went out of way to produce, rather we were just organizing stuff that we already had and giving it to people in sort of pdf, in this case a recipe book. So it was quite easy to do that.

Gael: Yeah, and basically it was like you can always recycle some of your existing content into this content upgrades and stuff, it doesn’t always need to be super original content and everything, they just need to add value to your blog post people are reading right now.

Mark: Yeah, and a lot of the time specifically the content upgrade- it doesn’t necessarily have to be something super unique and super original, a lot of the value in what you are giving someone is more in the organization of the content. So in this case, with our recipes, we had 12 or 15 recipes and they are once for the morning once for the afternoon, there is one that gives you more energy and these kind of things, so we kind of covered all of the basics; it’s only 12 but it’s a one stop shop kind of for anyone, you could literally just use these recipes and that would be good forever, in theory.

Gael: It’s also about the formats, so like one thing I do a bit on Authority Hacker is basically write a tutorial and have the screenshots and so on and then basically do it and make a video of it, and it’s basically the same thing, it’s just like, well you can watch the video and do as I go and it’s like a little bit easier. And I don’t even add more information on, really a little bit only but a lot of people still opt in and go for this thing so it doesn’t need to be big all the time, it’s more important to be related to the content than to be extremely unique actually.

Mark: Exactly. And again, because it’s something that people can download you know, there is zero issues with duplicate content or anything like that. You know, if you already have a new blog somewhere else.

Gael: Yeah, and one thing we did at the time as well, I did that thing actually, is I took the exactly same recipes on the blog post and I made the most ugly infographic I’ve ever done in my life.

Mark: It was pretty bad, yeah. [laugh]

Gael: If you’ve looked around our websites you can see how good I am at Photoshop, I am pretty terrible, yet, infographic, let me actually check right now but I think I’m on that page right now, but that page now has 34029 repins. And that is all organic, I did not cheat here. So just because I made a piece of content- that was more like a how to piece of content, like a designer piece of content, but people in Pinterest absolutely loved it and that brought us quite a bit of traffic, if I look into analytics right now I think it sent us like 15000 or 16000 visits that one Pineterst pin-

Mark: You’ve got to share the image in the show notes for this podcast actually, so people can see it. Just to explain, it looks like it was made in paint. [laugh] with like all different fonts and Times New Roman, it was horrible. But, it did pretty well.

Gael: That’s one of the cases, one of my best successes in Pinterest, I have actually over done many designers we’ve hired to do pins for us. I don’t think any of them ever beat us, beat that horrible pin. And that’s quite interesting, and obviously that only applies if your niche works in Pinterest, if you are like a plumber don’t try that it’s not going to work. But in that case, because it was health and juicing and all the fruits and stuff are people got a little bit crazy about that and I think the traffic from Pinterest converted twice more than the organic traffic actually. So we’ve got a bunch of emails but we are actually not doing anything with these emails, right, we are like, “Oh great, people are giving us their emails”, and that’s the time when we had absolutely no idea what to do with emails.

Mark: Yeah, I mean we had the foresight, we knew from our friends, from other people who have web sites, who have Authority sites that email is always the best or the most successful way in which they monetize. At the time we weren’t doing it at all but we knew in future it’s something we would want to do that’s why we setup the email capture that’s why we had the segmented list and all that, and yes, you are right we were capturing the details and giving them the free content upgrade but we weren’t doing anything beyond that. And as it got to the point where we were getting so many emails that we kept having like upgrade- I think we were on Get Response at the time, but we kept having the upgrade our package because we had so many emails and we weren’t monetizing it so I think we were probably one of the few people that had that kind of problem.

Gael: Yeah we were actually losing money from collecting emails at that time and our Get Response account got so expensive that we moved to Ontraport which is a pretty expensive solution, Ontraport is $297 per month so we are not talking about small expense here. The Get Response account had so many contacts that it was getting more expensive than that. So we actually out of necessity we figured out the product and email, we are going to talk about that, but basically from all these things, the traffic went from about 500 visits per day to a peak of 2300 visits per day on that one blog post. And obviously, over time the Pinterest traffic died out and social media is not ongoing traffic, it’s usually like it spikes out and goes down a bit, even though we still get repins and we still get traffic to it, it’s not nearly as much as when we released the pin and if I wanted to boost the traffic to that, I would probably just need to blindfold one of my eyes and try to do another horrible pin. But, yeah, it dies off. But still, we have organic traffic to that pretty stable and I suspect that that craziness on Pinterest actually- Pinterest pins actually show up on Google Webmaster’s Tool if you check links to your website so I suspect that that actually pushed our organic rankings, the fact that it went that crazy, I suspect with this kind of numbers it helped quite a bit and we ranked for fairly comparative keywords with that one boost, right.

Mark: Yeah, and it’s worth pointing out as well I mean, I’m looking at the analytics at the moment, the download trends were low, that’s the second half of the year, health issues tend to be a bit more forgotten, so I’m sure it will reverse again in January.

Gael: The thing is it’s also about weight loss, so now people are more worried about eating their Thanksgiving turkey and all that stuff than they are about losing weight. And so yeah, if you look at the trends we have here, it’s always the same. So not very worried about the download trends right now, we know on January 1st it’s just going to go nuts again. So yeah, the social media and the fact that we did the blog post and that’s the blog post I actually mentioned in the formatting blog post that there is on Authority Hacker, and I am going to link to that in the show notes, but yeah, it’s doing all that stuff, doing a little bit of marketing around actually pushed up our rankings and we actually got some organic links from that as well, like people picked it up from Pinterest and linked out to it and so on, and I think that really pushed up our rankings and really gave us a steady income of traffic, and now I mean obviously it’s a download trend but it spikes up, it’s still over 1000 per day, you know, this blog post.

Mark: And around the same time, we also started focusing in a little bit more on juicing, and producing other juicing content, trying to establish ourselves more as one of our specialities of the site and you and I even bought juicers and started doing it ourselves. I still do it every day, it’s pretty awesome.

Gael: Yeah, and what basically what we did, we did a little bit more keyword research and we are like, “Look, we are collecting all these emails, probably some days it is going to be useful, right now it’s costing us a bunch of money but may as well do it right”. And so, what we’ve done is we went back to our writers, we brainstormed I think over 20 pieces of content on the topic, if I look at our juicing category now there is quite a bit of content about it, and it all captures, it all offers the same content upgrades, it all offers this little recipe book with these 12 recipes that people download like crazy, right now it’s been downloaded over 12000 times, I think. So it’s a pretty significant amount of people that downloaded it. Actually, this blog post was I would say like probably like 80% or 90 % of our juicing traffic and now it’s only 40%, you know. So the fact that we were able to expand content on the same topic and offer the same thing. I am actually talking a lot about in the upcoming authority course for Authority Hacker, we were able to build that very targeted email list that all cares about the same thing which is using juicing for health and various health benefits. We still do get over 100 emails per day from that one category actually, so that is quite a bit of people and that’s all done from call to action and pop ups. So, I actually talk a lot about it on Authority Hacker so I’ll link also to this blog posts, but just in these two we get very high opt-in rate and a lot of emails. So tell us what we did next?

Mark: Oh well we created an e-book, created a product, it’s actually a series of e-books. And again, we didn’t really create too much new content here, I think when I was putting it together it was about 200 pages in total done in Word which was quite a lot but honestly, I think I ordered maybe two articles, 2000, 3000 words of content for just to go in there, I sort of wrote the introduction and kind of made it flow but essentially, it is just our juicing blog post. Almost all of it.

Gael: It’s edited quite a bit though.

Mark: Sure, in design and stuff, but in terms of raw information- there isn’t a whole lot more that you can get from that- you can’t get from our site for free. Again, it puts it in a nice order and kind of I guess walks like a beginner through the whole process rather than just throwing a bunch of random links at them or something, you know. But my point is it wasn’t too expensive to create, and that was the point, we didn’t want to go and spend thousands of dollars on creating something that we weren’t 100% sure- we had a pretty good idea but we weren’t 100% sure how it would sell and stuff like that so yeah, that was kind of the approach.

Gael: Although we have to admit we actually created a lot of content for the blog that we were using in the e-book you know.

Mark: Yeah, of course, that’s true.

Gael: So there was an additional cost from the point of saying, “Hey this one blog post does well” to creating more content, like 20 pieces of content I imagine we paid like $800 or something for that. So that was essentially our e-book, you know.

Mark: Yeah, sure. The point is we started from a base where we had a lot of it already made prior to this.

Gael: One thing that is interesting is always that the same content actually allows us to capture leads and most people, the reason this works is because most people read one blog post and they give you their email and then never read the rest, right? So they are like, “Oh yeah I read it on the site but that only 5% of the e-book because there is so many blog posts on other topics.” I don’t know what you wanted to add to that?

Mark: That pretty much covers it. We built 4 e-books, we did it that way because we wanted to have the main one and then 3 bonuses just as a psychological thing to help when we created the sales page. And we used Thrive Content Builder again to build our sales page for it.

Gael: Actually, let’s talk about the first sales page, like the very first one that you built.

Mark: I don’t know how many words it was, but it was very short, didn’t really say too much, had a sort of attention grabbing headline, talked about various pain points and just kind of introduced the product. We tested it out to start with, to see if people would click through by actually having it for free, and a lot of people did. So when you are kind of like on something, and then we just started- we started charging people, and slowly but surely people started buying it. This was super, super basic. It took like a few hours to set the whole thing up and that was it. Versus sort of when you came in and re did it, I know you spent days researching it, even weeks.

Gael: Yeah, I’ll explain that after, but one thing that is important is how we drove traffic to that page, and basically we didn’t even email the people that gave us their email at the time. We actually only showed that page just at the people opt in, so it’s like after people opt in, we were like, “Hey, we are going to send you this e-book in the next 15 minutes, in the meantime, check out this cool thing we have for you.” And basically there was a button that says “continue” and when they click continue, it send them to that sales page which was basically just a bunch of words and your picture on it and just a buy button.

Mark: Yeah, that’s a good point actually, like we used Ontraport to delay the email by 15 minutes so people wouldn’t be distracted by that and not click through our “thank you” page.

Gael: Doing the sales page, how long did it take you?

Mark: A couple of hours.

Gael: Like half a day, let’s just say, right?

Mark: Yeah, yeah answering emails in between and stuff, probably half a day.

Gael: So we did the sales page in half a day, we reused the kind of what we had already on the website-

Mark: It’s worth pointing out- we actually created I think 3 or 4 versions of it, which were a little bit different, we AB tested those to see which one would get the most click throughs.

Gael: I think it was just the headline and a few things, right, not much AB test.

Mark: There was one sort of main AB test which was like two very different angles, one was pushing the weight loss, one was pushing the health side of things and the weight loss was obviously much more successful.

Gael: And the reason we were able to test pretty fast is because we had already optimized our opt ins, so we had already optimized our content upgrades, we already optimized the pop up, we did all of that. We were able to pretty consistently get a hundred people give us their email which means a hundred people were seeing the sales page every day so that’s- you know, in a couple of days you have pretty good idea whether you are going to sell any or not.

Mark: Yeah, and that was quite unique I think, I don’t think too many people launch a product under those circumstances, traditional ways you know, you spend a bit of money on PBC or some other form of advertising to generate that initial traffic that you use to test. But we already had it, we just weren’t monetizing it, so…

Gael: Yeah, but I think it’s a good one for a lot of people that have traffic but don’t know how to make money out of it. First work on your content upgrade and then follow that process and actually talking about that, there is going to be a downloadable of the whole process and the whole flow and funnel on authorityhacker.com, so just go on the site and there is going to be a link in the show notes, click on that and then you will be able to download the flow and the flow chart of this. But yeah, so we just did that and we were making 1 to 3 sales a day, something like that.

Mark: Yeas, it started out low.

Gael: Yeah, it wasn’t much, but it was something. And e-book was for sale for $19, right?

Mark: That’s right, yeah.

Gael: Yeah. So it was already 20- 60 dollars a day, which is already pretty nice to have, that’s like $600 to $1900, so not bad. What we did then is once we proved the concept and we were like “Ok, we could probably spend a little bit more time trying to convince people a little bit better to buy the e-book”, and so we scrapped our pretty terrible sales page and made something a little bit nicer. And so I spent a little bit of time there and I spent a lot of time finding the arguments and building the sales page and I’ll link to a video from my friend Shane on Building Sales Pages, because I think he talks about it way better than I do and I just followed his footsteps basically. So I did that, and then I did things like watching Ted talks about weight loss and stuff like that to find the arguments and make sure we have it in the e-book, and basically convince people better and also on the design, and the design same thing- I worked on it with Thrive Content Builder, they actually released the landing pages just at that time so we could actually make really nice sales pages with it and that was super useful. So-

Mark: I think you kind of said something, but I just want to make sure everyone gets it, like – Gael, he watched Ted talks about health and weight loss, for those of you who don’t know, Ted.com- it’s a company or charity or something, they basically have hundreds of events every year and they invite really awesome inspirational amazing people to give short 15 minute presentations, Bill Gates has done one, I’m sure Mark Zuckerberg, and all these kind of super famous people, but also like scientists and generally people who are very knowledgeable and the quality of their presentations is amazing, and if you look through some of them in your niche again, it won’t apply to every niche, not every niche is covered, but health certainly was and I know a lot more will be too. You can find some really effective arguments in those presentations the people give and you can really use that to your advantage.

Gael: And it’s usually pretty well backed up you know, it’s like it’s not some shady advice from around the corner or whatever, it’s like these people have credentials, they know what they are talking about, and so you can really use that. But yeah, that was a really good source of inspiration for sales page actually. Which I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone do. But yeah, I spent a bit of time on that, you made those really small autoresponders back in the day, you had like 2 emails in it-

Mark: We started off just with a couple very basic- they added some value, they gave- not gave away but talked about some of the concepts in the book, built a little bit of suspense and linked to the sales page.

Gael: Yeah, so basically these emails just like give value and link back to the sales page, so basically it’s kind of like working the persuasion weapon, it’s like if they didn’t buy the first time, then you are going to email them even more value and be like, “Hey, if you like this click here to buy the e-book,” and then if they didn’t buy it- well there is another email coming in, “Hey, here is more information if you are interested in that stuff, it’s also in the e-book,” etc, so we would take a different angle and different piece of information that is covered in the e-book and give a little bit of a taste of it, and basically link back to it. And, so I extended that with my broken English emails, but it’s still working, you know. And, I was able to spend a bunch of time adding value and building a bit of scarcity. One thing I did also at the time is actually I did the trial offer so people can actually get the e-book for $1 and pay the rest $18 seven days later.

Mark: Yes, this was hugely effective actually. It’s quite easy to do this on Click Bank as well which most people probably are using for selling e-books. But it really increases the number of people that are buying your product, you know, $1 it’s nothing and it’s very good psychological technique and you end up getting the rest of money, the same as you would have charged anyway, just a week later so-

Gael: Yeah, and one thing I was able to do as well was the offer- I was able to put Facbook re-targeting pixel on the sales page, and basically if people didn’t buy, then the $1 offer was following them on Facebook for 30 days and so far, out stats are like we paid $10 to make a $20 sale, so it’s a pretty profitable thing and it just gives us free sales basically.

Mark: Yep.

Gael: So, we did that and then, so it was pretty nice, but obviously the maximum card value was $19 which is nice but you are not going to buy your Ferrari with that, so not that weekend right now buy your Ferrari from that e-book, but you know what I mean.

Mark: [laugh] One day.

Gael: Basically there is a few ways to make more money, it’s you either get more people buy your product or you get the people that buy your product spend more money. And so, what we did is we actually had one old product that was pretty much a failed product, because of the wrong angle I think in the way it was sold but hey, that’s how you learn, that we actually put as an upsell which is an e-book about doing ten changes in your life to have a much healthier lifestyle. And we put this one as an upsell so after people buy the e-book, they don’t get sent to thank you page, they get sent to a page that says a little bit more about this second e-book and if they click on the button “add it to my order” then it’s automatically added to their order they don’t need to put their payment information again or anything and we’ve sold that for $15. So all of a sudden, maximum card value went from 20 to 35 and actually about 30% of people take that right now.

Mark: Yeah, and it’s interesting because, I mean, we say it’s a fail product, the product itself is very good, I mean we had a writer spend a lot of time creating that, essentially health hacks book, and it’s not really related to juicing at all, I don’t think there is any juicing information in it. Although the end result of what people are looking to achieve, lose weight, obviously covers that to an extent as well.

Gael: Yeah. But still, it allowed us to make more money and to also see that some people are ready to spend more money. And I think that is an important learning, I think we can probably create a better upsell at some point but what we wanted to see is like hey, did people bite and are they ready to pull their money out? Or did they buy it and they wanted even more. And that answered that question and that was pretty interesting. And that’s basically where we are at, at this point- we did a bit of AB testing etc and we are going to talk about what we are going to do later. But basically today our worst days are like $70 a day and our best days are like $200 a day from this e-book, I think we had that yesterday or something. And that’s nice starting from a semi successful blog post, you know. If you think about it, we were making about $120 a month maximum when this whole thing started and now it’s an income stream that could sustain one of us in Budapest pretty much.

Mark: Oh yeah, easily, there is plenty of people that would love to have $120 – $200 a day. I dare to say passive is not exactly-

Gael: It’s pretty much passive now, you know, if we didn’t touch it, it would run itself. So the one thing is I actually believe we can take this to $1000 a day at some point, and I wanted to talk about the several ways we could achieve that and probably what we are going to work on- because some people might already have that and want to know what they could do next, and actually I think the first thing I could do is work on our upsells. I think and that is one thing we have been talking about, is there are already membership sites about juicing, where they just give you recipes and tutorials and stuff like that, and you can charge like 10- 20 dollars per month, and actually offering that to people that buy the e-book would make a lot of sense, especially if we were able to do things like create an app so they could have it on their iPad when they do juice or something like that. Then that’s the kind of stuff what we would be able to transform one of 20 or 35 dollar transaction into a 240 a year membership fee and that’s a lot more money. I think another one we could do is very simple, basically we make most of our sales from emails and people opting in so it’s just getting more juicing content and more emails equals more sales for us. And I will let you go through the rest of the list Mark.

Mark: Sure, I mean you touched on this earlier one way is to get more people, but the other way is to increase the value of the card or optimize the amount of people who are actually buying so there is a lot of CRO that we can do, the error responder especially, we haven’t really done any at least I don’t think we have done any AB testing of that, and Ontraport actually allows you to do that, which is one of the benefits it has over infusion which is the other one of these tools. Another thing we haven’t done at all is recruiting affiliates. I think we just had our first affiliate make a sale for it last week, but we have no idea where he came from or who he or she is actually. But, obviously we had looked into past for these kind of products, juicing e-books on Click Bank to promote and we saw there was a little bit of a gap in the market because for various reasons but basically the products were kind of like too spammy or just not very well marketed. There was no like-

Gael: The sales pages were not very good.

Mark: Yeah, so there was no products with good content, plus good marketing and I think ours- it’s not perfect and there is a lot of improvements- it’s pretty good in both those angles. So, I think it will be worth us identifying who is promoting these products but the other products and outreaching to them, getting in touch with them and saying “Hey do you want to promote ours as well,” so recruiting affiliates to generate traffic for us and to generate more sales. I think we offer 75% which is the maximum you can offer for commission on Click Bank for it. And that seems to be quite common, I remember years ago when I was first starting out into that market, I was reading about this, and a lot of people offer very high commissions on the front end because once you have that customer, you obviously have their details you can keep making money from that customer in future, and especially if we have something like a membership site as well, so it is always worth paying very good commission to get as many affiliates as possible to send you traffic.

Gael: Yeah, the product basically becomes a lead generation for other products.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. You still make some money off of it as well because there is no cost of producing an extra e- book, you know. Yeah, what else?

Gael: The PPC, I didn’t try on this one, but I’ve done it so I think so if you guys have joined Authority Hacker through Facebook PPC, so obviously we do a little bit of that and the thing is, I would probably not send PPC traffic to like via the e-book directly, I would probably make an opt in page for the free e-book and advertise it to people that are part of juicing groups so like juicing pages etc because hey, it’s a free recipe book, everyone that does juicing does that and so we would get probably emails for very cheap I imagine we could probably get even under $1 for some countries per email.

Mark: Yeah, and this comes back to something which we haven’t really done in too much detail yet, but trying to figure out what the kind of value or lifetime value of a customer is. Obviously for us right now there is limited amount of things we are selling them, the juicing e-book plus the upsell, but even when we have more products to sell and more memberships, things like that, then really the potential value, lifetime value to our business of one customer starts to become quite significant and that therefore justifies a lot more spending on PBC to sort of get the customers first foot in the door. And I know there are many businesses which actually make a loss on their first product because they are spending so much on advertising, but they know that a certain percentage of people who buy the first product then go on to join the memberships area or buy the second product and the upsells and stuff like that.

Gael: Yeah, it’s how this business worked, especially information books, I mean, they cost nothing, it costs nothing to send an extra pdf. So it’s like people are willing to play pretty high because they know it’s all profit anyway. Another thing that we could do as well is using the Amazon Kindle marketplace, so it’s probably the biggest e-book marketplace out there, and we are not touching it right now but what we could d is we could take a couple of our blog posts and create cheap Kindle e-book for like $1 or $2 etc that would be 30, 40 pages, 50 pages maybe and at the end offer some kind of bonuses so an extra 15 pages pdf or something and people could download it by going to an opt in page o fours basically downloading this bonus, and we know people have that already in e-book from us, it was just a cheap one for $2 on Amazon and we could upsell them the bigger one for $20 and then the upsell cycle goes on, so basically using Amazon, the Amazon Kindle marketplace, not only to make some money because sure you can sell an e-book for $2 but you can sell hundreds and hundreds and some people sell hundreds per day so that could be quite a bit of money actually, but also consider it as a lead generation platform, just try to have a huge value and get high reviews, get a lot of people bite, and then just sell a lot more stuff to these people by putting bonuses behind an opt in page and offering it at the end of the book, so then you can do classic email marketing to these people. So that’s one that I don’t see- I mean, the really big Amazon publishers do that but I don’t see many people do that, and Amazon has so many buyers especially with the new Kindle unlimited where people pay, I think they pay like $20 or $10 a month and they can download as many books as they want. And you still get paid on Amazon as an author and you can get a lot of people just go and download your bonuses and that is free leads, basically. So I think that is a pretty-

Mark: Wow, that’s awesome, I didn’t know about that Kindle unlimited thing. It’s the first time I’ve heard of it. Is that just in the US or-

Gael: I think so, yeah.

Mark: Ok.

Gael: So but I mean, you can VPN that or something.

Mark: That’s cool.

Gael: Anyway, it can be a really nice lead generation platform so we have already done everything for that, we just need to put together a little bit of an e-book, and basically we will probably use our email list and all the people that did not bite the expensive e-book, and basically send them the $2 e-book and be like, “hey, you want a light version of the main one? Go buy it on Amazon for $2 or $1 or even free at launch”, you know. So you get a lot of downloads, a lot of ratings, and then rank high and get a bunch of organic downloads, it’s like SEO basically. And finally, I think one thing we could do better is- and we need to work on that- but is actually have a follow up content, basically right now we have an autoresponder lasts two weeks and it basically sells that e-book in many different ways. But the thing is, a percentage of these people are never going to buy that e-book anyway, it doesn’t mean they are not interested in the problem, and it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t buy any product. So that’s is where our fleet marketing could kick in and recruit other offers, like things like weight loss offers because we talk quite a bit about weight loss, and all the other problems we propose to solve with juicing, maybe more classic ways to do that with other people’s product and from something like Click Bank you can make 75% so that is pretty sizeable amount of income that we could use these leads that essentially didn’t buy the product because you know, even if we got- we are not at 5% now but even if we got 5% of people buying the e-book it means 95% did not buy it. And these people, it doesn’t mean they are not interested in anything, so I think that’s definitely a way to make this funnel a lot more profitable. So yeah, that’s basically done and thing that we can do and things that we will do eventually but I can see that thing being a $1000 a day passive income once this is all done properly and we have hundreds of juicing articles and this PPC running and all of that, so-

Mark: Definitely. There is one other tip we didn’t mention I want to talk about. That we implemented just a few days ago, and I can’t remember where I got the idea from it but this happened to me, but basically what we do is when people click through the sales page from anywhere, and they don’t buy, Ontraport will send them an email later that day saying was the problem with the payment or was is there anything we can help you with, do you have any questions. And I mean, so far there is a few people have responded to that but it’s just an extra way I think to get people to engage into buying process because we often forget that a lot of people still have issues with putting their credit card online, and those kind of things, so that’s just another little thing that can help out.

Gael: yeah, I think there is plenty of little things like that, that we can do better, even things like if people did not open the first email, did not download the original free e-book, then instead of following up with the rest maybe like put them in its own sequence and basically follow up with them until they download the e-book and get a lot of value from us because then they are more likely to buy the paid one, you know.

Mark: Sure. So there are many little things that we can do, and we will probably talk about it as we implement them, obviously. And I want to talk a little bit about everything we learned through that process, which is pretty interesting and it shows that focusing is sometimes more important than us going back to our research and browsing even more blog content on Health Ambition and doing all of that and a lot of people check the website out and they are like, “Hey, you are not really posting lately, like what is going on, are you guys stopping this website,” etc. And I was like, “No we are making money, we are working on making money”. And sometimes it’s not just about pushing out free content all the time and same is with Authority Hacker. I’m just focusing on actually having an offer for you guys that has a lot of value because yeah, that is how you run your Authority site, it’s not just about- it’s not blogging, it’s not the same thing, it’s about creating a business eventually and creating a business is not all advertising and promotion which essentially is what your blog is. It’s a way to get traffic, it’s a way to get more people know about you etc. It’s not a way to make a lot of money, the way to make a lot of money is to have commercial offering and that’s basically what we are focused on and sometimes it’s hard to focus on everything. Another learning I think is focus on what works. So, a lot of people are like oh I have this little thing working on the site but you know, I am going to have this big project I am going to do etc, by really focusing on this juicing category and that is probably one of the first categories we have done- we were really able to basically 20X the income, if you look at the first $100 per month, you know. And that’s pretty powerful and I don’t think we could have done that by producing a lot of content and making these from AdSense. Do you want to talk about other learnings?

Mark: Sure.

Gael: Maybe not, I can do it if you want.

Mark: Yeah, I kind of lost you.

Gael: Sure, no problem. It’s not live but we are not going to cut that. [laugh]

Mark: This is Sunday, I’m very hangover.

Gael: So one thing that there was to learn was initially, this blog post didn’t do well at all, right. It took six months for it to get any traffic, and then it went up a little bit, it was like 200 visits per day, 200 per day- which was nice at the time for the size of a website but then it went down again to like 30 visits and then it went back up. And then we worked on it and then it went up, and up, and up. But the thing is, these things are not always like streamlined and nice and just waiting for you to just do the next thing and boom- right away you are going to make a lot of money. No, it was actually pretty hard for us, it was kind of a big gamble, when we spent all that time doing the content upgrade and all of that and actually paying for these emails we didn’t use. Now they have proved valuable but it was a financial risk at the time. But the thing is, there are ups and downs and you should not look at your daily stats and everything, especially me, I get affected a lot by this. You get a bad day and you go oh my Gosh this is all falling apart, it’s never going to work again, let’s just go and find a job and everything [laugh]

Mark: I don’t think it’s ever gone that bad. I mean…

Gael: No, no but you know what I mean. I exaggerate a bit, but there are ups and downs, but what you need to do is you need to step back and look at the last 6 months, 12 months and look at the trend because that’s really what is telling you what is working or not working, you will have bad days, you will have great days and they actually don’t really mean much. That’s why more and more I’m doing things like monthly reports for our site etc to kind of build that discipline to take a step back on daily stats and so on because that is something that you can get quite emotional about. Another learning is you can reuse your content again and again and again, and actually what is our rate on that product like 6% 7%?

Mark: It is but I get most of the emails and the majority of complaints believe it or not are people thought it was real physical book not an e-book despite it being mentioned as an e-book like a 100 times, on the sales page.

Gael: Fair enough.

Mark: So yeah, to my knowledge not one person has complained that most of this content is available for free in the blog. In fact, I’m pretty sure most people don’t realize that. Again, our site is quite sizable and we have a lot of articles it would be quite difficult for everyone to find- they can just search for juicing and they will find a lot of it for free but people aren’t necessarily aware they are reading stuff which is available for free on the site.

Gael: Yeah, and they are cool with it, they paid for the thing that is organized for them and it just-

Mark: Exactly. If they did complain about it fine, I mean, we have like a no refund policy, we have to because we are on the click bank, but we would anyway.

Gael: That’s fine, like if someone complains you just give them their money back and you make another dozen sales in the meantime and most of them will not worry so yeah.

Mark: Refunds are a part of this game. And just figure 10% to be safe of everything your sale is going get refunded, if you are selling digital product like this it’s very normal, I mean you are always going to have people that request a refund just because they know they can get their money back. But it’s actually very quite rare, the people who do that I believe.

Gael: Yeah, so it’s a little bit mind blowing especially when you haven’t done it before. To be honest, I was expecting people to complain a lot about this and they didn’t you know, nobody did and it’s pretty interesting it makes me feel a lot better about the whole thing, it makes the whole process feel a lot easier if you can create content, see if it works well free as a blog post and obviously, I did it a bit and tried to add some value to it etc especially organize it and then sell it and actually make decent money of it. And finally, the fourth lesson is that you can sparkle some pretty serious income from small successes as long as you can identify them and take action. So if you have a blog post and you have that one blog post that does well, start by implementing a content upgrade and see if people are willing to give their email, if they are willing to give their email on the thank you page put a pretty crappy product and put a buy button and check who clicks on buy, don’t even build the product yet. And then if people click on “buy”, then build a first version of the product and actually see if people go all the way to sort of check out, and if they do then you can improve that over time and basically build it up and the reason this worked well is because there was no plan I think, it’s because we didn’t have a big ambition for this, we were just like let’s just try to make a little bit of money out of this.

Mark: Sure, and it’s also we are saying we didn’t really invent any kind of new form of marketing here, this is very standard internet marketing procedure that we were following really, I mean sure we have kind of done particularly well a few of the minor steps or ways we have been implementing, but the basic thing of having some kind of offer and giving away free products to build value and capturing emails and pre-selling and all, it’s the bread and butter if you will of internet marketing. So a lot of the time it was just there waiting for us, just the case of doing it.

Gael: Yeah but I think a lot of people that are listening to this are in the same situation, they have a blog and they want to start making money out of it. And transform it into like a real business/ authority site etc. And that’s really the way to go if you want to make money. I mean, if you look at the growth of this compared to any of the income stream we had from our sites, it is a platform like things like product reviews that start ranking really fast and have a lot of search volume, which can make an absolute ton of money as well, this is by far the fastest growing and the best compromise between fast growth and stabile income stream you know.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. And it’s quite good as well, because the traffic sources are where the customers are coming from for this product, it’s more and more diversified. Like we said at the start, with just that one blog post but throughout this process we have created many more and especially if you get into doing PPC in the future and stuff then it’s going to become much more of a solid thing and you know, if at some point in the future we decided to sell Health Ambition say, having something like this is hugely valuable for business for websites because it is kind of like a long term stabile source of revenue, source of income. Whereas like you said if you are making money doing reviews or something like- like we also do on Health Ambition sometimes you wake up in the morning and your rankings just tank and you know, you start losing hundreds of dollars a day compared to before, this is much less likely for that to happen.

Gael: Yeah, I mean even if one blog post tanked, you still get emails every day, we still make sales, it would go a bit down but you know, we could buy traffic instead and do a lot of other things and that’s why it scales, like if you are doing things like product reviews which I know a lot of people listening are doing, you know, apart from hoping to rank in Google, I mean, most product affiliate programs like prohibit you from doing PPC anyway wouldn’t be very profitable and that’s basically your only potential source of traffic you know, And that’s why this is basically I see reviews as the cherry on the cake and this I see as the cake, you know. And that’s how I am going to take that and what is we are really focused on building products for all our businesses including Authority Hacker that’s going to come up soon and yeah, it’s more tedious it’s more work than just writing a review but it’s all also way more stable so yeah, it’s been pretty fun, we are learning a lot and we are trying to relate that on the podcast so we hope you guys appreciate. Do you want to add something for the end Mark?

Mark: No, I think we did a pretty good job and that’s almost an hour so I think we-

Gael: We talked too much? [laugh]

Mark: Yeah.

Gael: All right, so well, thank you guys for listening, as I said there is a diagram that shows exactly the funnel we are using to convert blog visitors into buyers of this e-book, I’ll put it on authorityhacker.com/product and you can go and downloaded it there and we will see you in the next episode, thank you for listening.

Mark: Thanks.

Gael: All right guys, there you have it, this is how we took that little blog post and we were basically able to create a product around it, create more content, and do a lot of content recycling, so it didn’t cost us a lot of money it took a bit of work obviously but we were able to generate a pretty decent source of passive income, obviously this is not going to buy us a Ferrari or anything but it’s absolutely helping our site grow is giving quite a bit of cash for Health Ambition and for us to make that site even better if we were able to repeat the process a dozen times that would be a pretty nice mostly passive income. So I hope you can take what we learned and you can apply it to whatever you are doing in your business if you have any kind of blog post that is a little bit successful and you haven’t done much with it then we absolutely recommend you follow the same steps because that’s a process that’s very repeatable as long as you have something that has a little bit attraction, just need to figure out what the people that consume that piece of content want and basically created for them and create that little sales funnel so as a reminder you can go and download the funnel on authorityhacker.com/product. Wed also appreciate if you take 5 minutes of your time to go and review our podcast on iTunes because that is how we get visibility and that’s how we justify the time spent on this podcast, so if you have 5 minutes that would be greatly appreciated more than happy to have a little bit of an email consultation with you guys if you do that so feel free to drop a review and we’ll talk to you later. I’ll see you in the next episode.

Thank you for listening to the Authority Hacker podcast. If you liked this episode, don’t forget to rate us on iTunes and we’ll give you a shout out in the next episode. If you want more 100% niche marketing tutorials and hacks, head over to authorityhacker.com.

about the author
Hey I'm Gael, one of the guys behind Authority Hacker. I make a living working from my laptop in various places in the world and I will use this website to teach you how you could do the same.

Latest Podcasts

Related Articles

Ready to start
your journey?

Find profitable, hidden niches

We’ll show you how to find profitable markets that others ignore.

Build fast sites that rank quickly

The exact tech stack you should use to build a fast site for cheap.

Uncover your niche’s best keywords

How to find diamonds in the keyword rough quickly to grow your traffic.

Get links without paying a dime

Link building tactics that work for new sites and don’t require you to pay.